How To Stop Your Puppy Chewing & Nipping

Janet | November 27th, 2009
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Everyone loves puppies when they are being cute and well behaved. But sometimes they act out in bad ways and aren’t so well behaved.

In order to to keep your house a safe and peaceful place your puppy has to learn how to properly behave in the human world. It is your job as their owner to show them how to act and what is acceptable behaviour.

Given a little time and effort even the most difficult puppy can be trained to stop chewing and nipping. It’s just a matter of getting the right technique and repeating it successfully until your puppy learns how they should behave.

How Can I Stop Nipping?

Nipping is quite natural for puppies during their playtime. Puppies will often nip when they get excited and you may be tempted to let it go but shouldn’t. Nipping is a really bad habbit that needs to be stopped right away. If you allow your puppy to nipp at your skin you are setting them up for problems later in life. If your puppy thinks it’s okay to nip at human skin they may end up biting someone in the future.

The trick with nipping is to divert your puppies attention elsewhere. When your puppy starts nipping try to get their attention onto a soft chewable toy instead of your hands. It helps to have toys that are easily chewable and attractive from a dogs point of view.

Experiment with different chewable toys to find one your pup really likes. There are many colorful and soft chewy toys available in pet stores. There are even chew toys with treats inside which will reward your pup for chewing the toy instead of your hand! Your pets favorite chew toy may even turn out to be an old sock or other household item. Just be sure that it’s safe for the puppy to chew and that they like chewing it.

When Can I Train My Puppy?

Puppies can start learning very early. You can start to train the average puppy as young as 8 weeks. If you are consistant in your behaviour this will send a clear message to your puppy. If your puppy bites you during play say “no” in a firm voice without shouting and back away from them. If they start to bite again, simply move away from them and go to a different room of the house, closing the door behind you.

You shouldn’t leave your puppy alone for longer than a minute. This will be long enough for them to get the message. Leaving them alone for a brief moment teaches them that if they bite you then the attention stops. Some puppies may reduce the strength of their nipping but not stop altogether. If this happens then continue to say “no” and move away. Eventually they will learn to associate nipping with you a lack of attention. They know if they nip and bite that your attention will switch off.

What About Chewing?

Chewing is another habbit that can cause problems especially with puppies. Puppies seem to have an unstoppable urge to chew just about anything they can get their paws on. When a puppy is teething they chew to soothe their aching gums and it’s something they should be allowed to do.

However, what you allow them to chew is really up to you. Once again it’s a matter of redirecting their attention onto a favorite chewy toy instead of your shoes, chair legs or other household items.

Make sure that your puppy has a good selection of chewy toys to chew on. Get them used to chewing on these toys from an early age. It’s really important to place all these toys within a confined area with your puppy. If your puppy is allowed to roam the house they will probably go from one object to another and this includes your shoes!

Try to develop a small and secure area where your puppy can move about in but where they can’t access the things you don’t want them to chew. Fill this area with all their chewy toys so their attention is focused on only their toys.

Whenever you see them chewing on something they’re not supposed to say “no” in a firm voice and replace the item with a chewy toy. Instead of trying to grab the item out of your puppy’s mouth and ending up in a tug of war, simply play with their chewy toy and give it all your attention. In that way they should lose interest and drop your shoe or other item in favor of getting the chewy toy which you are playing with!

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